Every day I read through the news and get story after story of the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems all consuming, taking over the news feeds with a never-ending stream of “wash your hands,” cough etiquette, and social distancing advice. My inbox is filled with the usual medical journal summaries and medical new feeds but now many of them are reporting changes to COVID 19 diagnostic criteria and methods, and description of trials of therapy. The changes are rapid and keeping up with all the reports impossible. I work in an outpatient primary care clinic and the changes are profound there as well. Our once bustling waiting room now has every other seat masked off with caution tape and is nearly empty anyway as all routine wellness visits have been postponed and every effort made to see patients through virtual visits or handle acute issues just through a telephone call if possible. I recently received an invitation for willing physicians to complete inpatient training to familiarize with the inpatient electronic medical record and a refresher course in ventilator management and general inpatient care. There is a tenseness in the air as we wait for our area to be swept up in the wave of illness we expect to see over the next several weeks to months.
My philosophy has always tended towards a “roll with it” way of thinking and, in general, I would consider myself the resilient and flexible sort, even one that loves a new challenge, some change now and again, and a bit of adrenaline every once in a while.
Yet in this time of stress, rapid change, and uncertainty, it can be reassuring to return to what we know and are comfortable with.
In some ways, my spinning follows those same patterns. Normally, I tend towards bright but darkly saturated colors, blends with a bit of bling, and the exotic fibers— the exciting, different and changing. I’ve done some experimental work a few weeks ago with some new navajo ply techniques and glow-in-the-dark yarn that I plan to post about soon too. But this weekend, it felt refreshing to return to the basics of spinning, back to the comfort zone. This weekend I spun singles of black Shetland Wool Roving from Arctic Fox Farm in Potlatch Idaho. The sheep’s name is Bubblegum. The roving is the beautiful pin-drafted work of Fibers First. The rovings is so airy it practically spins itself and I love the way it comes off the pin-drafter in those stacks upon stacks of spirals of spirals of soft fiber.
I wasn’t trying to spin thread and didn’t worry about a few lumps or bumps. It wasn’t anything fancy, no bling or blend or brightly dyed colors. No slippery exotic fiber and no tricks or special techniques— just an easy to spin black Shetland single. I spent some time with my wheel between me and the TV and my two little boys cuddled beside me and it really doesn’t get much more comfortable than that!